• synonyms


[ih-kahy-nuh s]
noun, plural e·chi·ni [ih-kahy-nahy] /ɪˈkaɪ naɪ/.
  1. any sea urchin of the genus Echinus.
  2. Architecture.
    1. an ovolo molding, especially one having an outline with several radii or one carved with an egg-and-dart pattern.
    2. the prominent circular molding supporting the abacus of a Doric or Tuscan capital.
    3. Also called cymatium.the circular molding, usually carved with an egg-and-dart pattern, forming part of an Ionic capital between the volutes and under the balteus.
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Origin of echinus

1325–75; Middle English < Latin < Greek echînos hedgehog, sea urchin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for echini

Historical Examples

  • The sea-urchins or Echini, so abundant in white chalk, afford a good illustration.

    A Manual of Elementary Geology

    Charles Lyell.

  • In the same stone the claws of crabs, fragments of echini, and other signs of a neighbouring beach are observed.

  • Also, batoons of St. Paul, the fossil spines of echini, found in Malta and elsewhere.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for echini


noun plural -ni (-naɪ)
  1. architect an ovolo moulding between the shaft and the abacus of a Doric column
  2. any of the sea urchins of the genus Echinus, such as E. esculentus (edible sea urchin) of the Mediterranean
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin, from Greek ekhinos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012